health

12 Everyday Plants That Can Help You De-Stress Instantly

by Ileana Paules-Bronet
Ileana is the Editor of Original Content at LittleThings. She grew up in upstate New York and Oregon and now lives in Queens, NY. Ileana graduated from Skidmore College with a degree in sociology. After graduating, she attended the Columbia Publishing Course in New York City, then worked as in marketing at Oxford University Press. Since transitioning to editorial, she has written for sites like BuzzFeed, HuffPost, and Unwritten. She has also worked for local newspapers and magazines in upstate New York. In her free time, you can find Ileana watching Law and Order: SVU, eating ice cream, and spending time with her dog.

Everyone — no matter what their upbringing was like, what their family is like, or what they do for work — deals with stress at some point in time.

We all have different methods of dealing with stress and anxiety. Some people exercise to relive stress, others indulge in comfort foods, others turn to close friends and family to talk, and still others just internalize it and wait for it to pass.

But luckily, there is one highly effective method of dealing with stress that can help both your physical and mental health: changing the plants you eat and surround yourself with.

It might seem too simple, but eating, smelling, and planting certain plants may greatly impact your general well-being.

From peppermint to sunflowers to lavender, plants can alter your stress levels.

Read on to find out which plants can help relieve stress!

Note: In addition to exploring certain lifestyle changes, be sure to always seek the advice of a medical professional when dealing with stress, anxiety, and/or depression.

Thumbnail: Pixabay / Pixabay

Stress Relieving Plant #1: Peppermint

peppermint stress
Laura Caseley for LittleThings

Peppermint, which many of us think of as a flavoring agent or garnish, is actually really great for relieving stress.

According to a German study, peppermint essential oil is effective when it comes to relieving tension headaches.

Another study, conducted by Wheeling Jesuit University, found that peppermint can actually lower frustration and boost alertness.

Stress Relieving Plant #2: Black-Eyed Peas

black-eyed peas stress
Laura Caseley for LittleThings

When you eat black-eyed peas, you’re not just getting a good amount of fiber and iron, you’re also getting a lot of folate, which can lower stress levels.

According to the National Institutes of Health, low folate levels have been linked to depression.

Making sure you consume a good amount of folate can help keep your spirits high and fight off stress and depression.

Stress Relieving Plant #3: Chamomile

chamomile stress
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In a study published in Molecular Medicine Reports, chamomile has been used for health benefits since ancient times.

The study reports that chamomile may have antianxiety effects for people with generalized anxiety disorder.

Over the years, chamomile has also been used as a sleep aid to treat insomnia.

When you get enough sleep, your body is able to reset and your stress levels will typically decrease.

Stress Relieving Plant #4: Cherry Tomatoes

cherry tomatoes stress
Laura Caseley for LittleThings

Tomatoes are very high in a chemical called lycopene.

Because lycopene naturally occurs in tomato skin, cherry tomatoes are better than regular tomatoes because of their surface-area ratio.

Lycopene, which is a powerful antioxidant, can protect your atrenal cortex from damage.

The adrenal cortex controls your body’s stress response, explains a study in Environmental Science and Pollution Research.

Stress Relieving Plant #5: Evening Primrose

evening primrose stress
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Evening primrose, a yellow wildflower, has seeds that are very high in tryptophan, which your body uses to produce serotonin (a natural mood booster and antidepressant).

Evening primrose oil has been used for a variety of health benefits — from improving fertility to treating acne — and one of the benefits is balancing hormones, explains Natural Living Ideas.

When your hormones are more balanced, you will experience less depression and irritability.

Stress Relieving Plant #6: Oregano

oregano stress
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Many of us only think of oregano as a dried topping for pizza, but the herb can actually benefit us in more ways than just flavor.

Medical News Today reports that oregano is often used for the common cold, muscle pain, headaches, allergies, and fatigue.

All of these conditions can lead to more stress, so any time you feel yourself coming down with a cold or headache, try turning to oregano for relief.

Stress Relieving Plant #7: Blue Potatoes

blue potatoes stress
Laura Caseley for LittleThings

Blue potatoes, in addition to looking beautiful, are also high in an antioxidant called anthocyanin.

A study in the Journal of Biomedical Biotechnology explains that anthocyanins can reduce blood pressure and have strong anti-inflammatory properties, which can lead to bad moods and stress.

The skin of blue potatoes is also high in iodine, which is known to balance hormone levels, explains Iodine Research.

Stress Relieving Plant #8: Lavender

lavender stress
Laura Caseley for LittleThings

Many people just like the smell of lavender, but the scent also has great stress-relieving benefits.

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, lavender can produce calming, soothing, and sedative effects when its smell is inhaled.

Using lavender oil can relieve headaches, insomnia, and depression.

Stress Relieving Plant #9: Swiss Chard

swiss chard stress
Laura Caseley for LittleThings

According to Rodale’s Organic Life, many people who are diagnosed with depression are found to have magnesium deficiencies.

Luckily, supplementing magnesium is easy, and it can relieve headaches and ease depression and anxiety.

Swiss chard is a dark, leafy veggie that is packed with magnesium — adding more of it to your diet can help fight stress.

Stress Relieving Plant #10: St. John's Wort

st. john's wort
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The National Institutes of Health explain that St. John’s wort has been used for centuries for its antidepressant properties.

St. John’s wort, which is a yellow flower, also comes in supplement form to add to your diet.

Note: Before using St. John’s wort to treat depression and anxiety, talk to a doctor. The herb can interact with prescription and non-prescription medications.

Stress Relieving Plant #11: Sunflowers

sunflower stress
Laura Caseley for LittleThings

Natural News reports that sunflower seeds can be used as a natural antidepressant. Like swiss chard, sunflower seeds are high in magnesium.

Sunflower seeds are also high in tryptophan, an amino acid that produces serotonin and naturally improves mood.

Additionally, WebMD explains that sunflower seeds contain phenylalanine, an amino acid that fights depression.

Stress Relieving Plant #12: Blueberries

blueberries stress
Laura Caseley for LittleThings

Lots of people know that blueberries are superfoods, but some people don’t realize that they have some incredible stress-relieving benefits.

Berries are high in antioxidants and phytonutrients, which improve your body’s stress response. Blueberries are also high in vitamin C, which boosts your immune system.

According to a study in Neural Regeneration Research, blueberries have also been proven to improve brain function and aid focus.

If you can’t wait to add more of these plants into your life, please SHARE this article with your friends and family!

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